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Orchard Ridge Nursery School (Mckenna Blvd)

1025 Mckenna Blvd
Madison, WI 53719-2253

(608) 274-8407


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

ORNS has one teacher and a small group of children per class. This structure provides children with a sense of security, ownership and community. Teachers get to know each student well and works with each family to provide the best education possible for their child.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The purpose of ORNS is to provide a creative environment that focuses on the social and emotional development of the preschool child while addressing their physical and intellectual growth. This is to be accomplished by recognizing and building upon each individual's personal and family experiences.
The philosophy of ORNS is:
To provide a developmentally appropriate program for children in a safe, caring and creative atmosphere through child/teacher initiated activities.
To encourage social and emotional development and a positive self-image.
To offer opportunities for hands-on exploration, experimentation and discovery through play.
To recognize and build upon each child's uniqueness with regard to their personal and family experiences.
Childhood is a time of discovery and adventure. Children need time and space for discovery. Our philosophy at ORNS maintains that children learn best by doing and we provide many hands-on activities for creative, sensory and interactive experiences.

Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

8:50-9:05 Arrival/Morning Meeting
9:10-9:30 Free Play/Project Time
9:30-9:50 Gym
9:50-10:10 Group Time
10:10-10:30  Snack
10:30-10:35  Quiet Book Time
10:35-11:15  Second Free Play Time
11:15-11:30  Clean Up
11:30-11:50 Outside/Pick Up Time

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

At ORNS, teachers hold a parent information night for each class prior to the beginning of the school year. Teachers have parent/teacher conferences twice a year. Parents and teachers have the opportunity to speak daily and communicate regularly via email or phone. We also provide an average of one parent education class per month on subjects such as organization, photography, child guidance, nutrition, etc.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We have four extra staff members ready to step in a classroom at any moment who can assist children who are having a difficult time separating with their parents. We encourage parents to stay with their child for a bit and then leave. We calm and reassure the child and call the parent/guardian with an update within 10 minutes of their departure or even sooner if the child is feeling better.